Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top Five Reasons to Visit the Ron Clark Academy

I was honored to be able to visit the Ron Clark Academy last week along with my principal and my blogging besties! I wanted to channel my inner Ron Clark and so I thought I could sum it up in a list.


5. Their School Looks BOMB
  The school and classrooms' aesthetics are UNREAL. Each classroom has a theme and the walls are spray-painted in professional graffiti to match.  I mean, come on... does your lunchroom play Harry Potter music and do you have a large metal dragon in front of your main staircase?





4. This Ain't Your Momma's Professional Development
I can easily doodle my name on scrap paper through most of the PD I have been to through my district.  I also find myself never really bringing anything back to my classroom after taking notes.  RCA is VERY different. The first thing you see when you go into the library is a giant trampoline with students and teachers dancing and singing.  My jam was playing and I was totally feeling the vibe.  But...my principal was with me so I had to tone down my Jazzercise moves for sure.
  You observe classrooms of REAL teachers and REAL students doing rigorous, fun learning.  You will get some great teaching delivery ideas and strategies.  At RCA, you also get to go to sessions that are only teachers and you learn about different technology, how to engage students, game ideas, etc.  Just like any PD, it does cost money to go to RCA.  Talk to your PTA or your district or write a grant. JUST GET THERE.


3.  Ron Clark and Kim Bearden {nuff' said}
Both of their stories are different, but they came together at just the right time to start the Ron Clark Academy in a run-down factory where drug deals and street walkers were often found.  They've transformed the building, but more than that- transformed those kids.  They are inspiring, fun, goofy, and passionate teachers and leaders.

Their sense of humor and fun shows in the school. You can find a large blue slide from the second floor to the ground floor.  You best believe I got "Slide Certified".




We also had the chance to eat dinner with Kim Bearden on Saturday night (She's the co-founder of RCA) and let me tell you, she is THE REAL DEAL. Her story is amazing and I felt like I already knew all about her because I read her book ;).  She's the sweetest soul and her passion for those kids inspires me beyond words.  Kim...thanks for being you!



2.  The Teachers Are the Real Deal
These teachers sing, dance, stand on their desks, have fun, and REALLY engage their students.  The teachers don't take any crap from the students and for that...the students show respect to their teachers! I had the chance to watch my good friend Hope King teach and can I just say... she is phenomenal.  I just watched her with my chin dropped because not only was her Alice in Wonderland themed classroom fabulous, but her students were so dang smart. They were having a blast singing a song about Fairy Tales to the tune of "The Hanging Tree" from the Hunger Games.  Talk about ENGAGING!





1.  The Students Seal the Deal
These kids are phenomenal! When you walk into RCA, multiple students greet you with a firm hand-shake and eye-contact.  They ask you about where you are coming from, what grade you teach, and why you're at RCA.  Students at RCA don't just "talk" to you...they engage in conversation.  At lunch the students were even asking me about Whole30 because they know that "Mrs. King is doing that Whole30 thing too!"  These kids come from all different backgrounds from living with relatives, to middle-class.  Some students come in preforming so far below grade-level and they leave (in 8th grade) to preforming high above. They work hard and they play hard.  The students say "yes sir" and "yes ma'am". I just wanted to hug every. single. kid. (but I didn't because I'm no creeper). After a day full of school (singing, dancing, rigorous instruction), the students all gathered to cheer on their girls and boys basketball teams in their brand-new gym! It was UNREAL! We stood and cheered the whole time because when Mr. Clark tells you to stand up... you stand up!




Book your visit today!




Books to read to tie your over until your visit:




Here are some snapshots of our weekend in Atlanta:


I feel so blessed!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Appreciate Your Substitute!

Let me tell you, I've had the opportunity to substitute in other classrooms and it is HARD WORK.  Yes, it's all planned out for you-but...is it planned out that in a blink of an eye things could go horribly wrong? HA! I know it's a little dramatic, but it is possible. I appreciate my substitutes because I know that as much as I train my students to treat him/her like they would treat me, I know they are still trying to push their boundaries.

Anyway, it got me thinking that it would be nice to leave my sub a little something to say thanks.  I posted my idea on our Instagram  (@whattheteacherwants) and many of you said you'd love to have this in your classroom. So...here ya go!








Aside from a pack of gum or maybe even some mint chapstick, I give my substitute another gift...DETAILED lesson plans, schedule, notes, organized substitute binder, etc.  YAY!
And to get you organized... I have this little guy for ya. :)





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hearts for a Heart Warrior: A Fundraiser for the Family of Little Ryder Cannon

I have something really special to announce! Starting today, What the Teacher Wants is hosting a fundraiser for a very deserving local family here in Utah. Some of the biggest names in the TPT clip art world have all come together to help raise money for a sweet little "Heart Warrior" named Ryder. 



Ryder's mom, Jessie, and I used to teach together at my old school. We worked together for 6 years before she and I both changed schools and began teaching in different places. She is one of my dearest friends and I loved every second of working with her. She is full of life, hilarious, and one of the best teachers you'll ever meet.

Fast forward a little bit, and I have a heartbreaking story to tell you about my friend Jessie. After going through a relatively easy pregnancy with her 4th child, Little Ryder Cannon was born on December 2nd, 2014 and was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect. He spent over 180 days in the ICU while doctors tried everything they could to fix his heart. 


During his life, he underwent three open heart surgeries, one of which was an experimental surgery to replace his heart valve; he was the first baby at Primary Children's Hospital to ever have it done. That surgery was a success and earned him the nickname of "Heart Warrior." However, the doctors were never able to completely fix his broken heart. Ryder spent 30 days on the heart transplant list, but unfortunately the new heart never came. 

Little Ryder passed away in August of 2014 at only 8 and a half month old.

{Photography by: Crystal Spencer Photography}

During his short time in the world, Ryder blessed the lives of many. This little Heart Warrior leaves behind a mom, dad, two sisters and a brother who miss him every single day. The financial burden of it all leaves a huge stress on the family. The medical bills are still coming in and Little Ryder still needs a headstone for his grave.

{To read more of Ryder's story, click here.}


 


For this reason, I have put together a fundraiser on Ryder's behalf. 

All donations collected through this "Hearts for a Heart Warrior" fundraiser will go to help the Cannon family with Ryder's medical bills and will also help purchase a headstone for Ryder's grave. 





For your $25 donation, you will receive "The Ultimate Valentine's Day HEART and LOVE Inspired Graphics Mega Bundle" There are over 300 graphics included in this amazing pack!



(These are both exclusive graphic sets and are not available anywhere else.
These are custom designed for this special fundraiser!)

Melonheadz: Exclusive Heart Warrior Bundle














Natalie Kay: Valentine's Day Pennant Banner





This fundraiser starts right now and will run until Valentine's Day. I know that Ryder's family will be very appreciative for any and all donations they receive! Thank you!!


Also, a giant thank you to all who donated products to this fundraiser. Please check out each of these awesome blogs!

 The Creative Chalkboard Frog Spot Blog
  Teaching in the Tongass

  The Creative Classroom

   

Also, thank you to my sweet teacher friends, Christie & Crystal, for their help!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shared Reading

I love to use poems as my shared readings during my Daily 5 mini-lessons.  Last week we were memorizing the poem "The Chubby Snowman" and my students had a genius idea! They said we should write some fun things that we could use for the snowman's nose since it was eaten by the bunny.  THEY IS THO THO THMART! :)

So, that's what we did!  It was a little too simple of a writing (aka: fill in the blank) for my students, but they wanted to do it right then... so I whipped up a little something.  I think that maybe next week we'll write a narrative story about how they got their new nose.





















Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Student Teachers are the Best!

Do you have a student teacher or are you getting one?  Or, are YOU a student teacher? I have just the thing for you!
I've created this packet to help your student teacher feel comfortable, organized, and ready to go! :)



Ready, Set, Go! Getting Your Student Teacher Off to a Great Start!

This customizable packet is full of resources to compile and put in a binder for your student teacher {or for yourself, if you are a student teacher}. What a great way to show your student teacher that you care? They will feel loved and organized and a lot less overwhelmed! Each page comes in color and black/white!


Included in this student teacher packet:
*Binder Cover {2 options}
*Welcome Letter
*Schedule Form
*Lesson Plan Template
*Helpful Hints Form
*About our Class Form
*Class Roster
*Behavior Management Idea Forms
*Weekly Planner {To-do list}
*Website Resources
*Bright Ideas 
*Student Teacher About Me Page
*Student Teaching Survival Kit {Gift Idea}




** This packet comes in a zip file with a PowerPoint {customizable} and PDF file!

I've got my Student Teacher Survival Kit that you'll give them on their first day, along with a binder, and their own little desk in our classroom:





This is a gift idea that is in this packet! It's called the Student Teaching Survival Kit:



Click {here} to see more!
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